Luciani Projects gives a dated 1980s apartment a new narrative
Photography by Raffi Tutundjian
Set amongst the dense hospital buildings of Baldwin Village, the 1980s-era condo tower conveys nothing of the interiors found inside one young family’s unique condo. Devised by the design-build firm Luciani Projects, the classically appointed space has been outfitted with chevron floors in white oak, graceful arched transitions, curved millwork, and oversized picture-frame mouldings more typical of apartments in Madrid or Copenhagen than here. Their vision was to create a space that felt like a retreat from the busy streets of Toronto, reminiscent of a boutique hotel in Europe. “We are not shy about completely changing the dynamics of a space and reimagining it through the use of architectural details,” says founder Nicholas Luciani.
In its previous life (see below), the Baldwin Village condo was a builder-basic mélange of fluorescent light boxes, beige walls, and metre upon metre of pink wall-to-wall carpeting.
“It was remarkable only in its unremarkableness, or perhaps by the many years it had sat vacant: the kitchen appliances were in pristine condition from when the building was completed. It needed to transition from “unit” to “home,” says Luciani. It needed a rewrite.
Their first edit was reorganizing the of-its-time floor plan to capitalize on the 1,400 square feet of living space. The wall separating the kitchen from the living-dining room came down, the bathrooms were enlarged by several feet, and walls of custom storage were added throughout, all designed to fit within the new-old architectural forms and to add presence. Disguising bulkheads and unmoveable stacks was a major part of the design process. In the principal bedroom, for example, an awkward bulkhead was concealed using a trio of arches, each sized to hug the dimensions of the furniture.
On the opposite side of the room, a slim pill-shaped closet runs the length of the wall and incorporates a slated air return. One of the closet doors is fronted with an antiqued mirror panel that reflects light and adds yet another moment of texture and interest.
Incorporating timeless, artisan finishes was central to the firm’s design, a response to the homeowner’s love of more traditional finishes. The walls in the principal bath are treated in a limewash paint by Bauwerk to add an aged quality that complements the porcelain wall tile imported from Italy and the alternating ceramic floor tiles from Arta Ceramics.
The organic nature of the limewash allows for some imperfections that feel more authentic than regular paint. If there is an emblem of the design, the hand-formed mantel is a strong candidate. “It acts as a frame within the now-open grand room; a piece of sculpture that defines the sitting area like it’s been there all along. LUCIANIPROJECTS.COM